Caesar Cipher

The Pigpen Cipher was used by Freemasons in the 18th Century to keep their records private. The alphabet is written in the grids shown, and then each letter is caesar Cipher by replacing it with a symbol that corresponds to the portion of the pigpen grid that contains the letter. Plaintext’, then click the button labelled ‘Encipher Plaintext’ to encrypt your message. According to Suetonius, Caesar simply replaced each letter in a message with the letter that is three places further down the alphabet.

Cryptographers often think in terms of the plaintext alphabet as being the alphabet used to write the original message, and the ciphertext alphabet as being the letters that are substituted in place of the plain letters. Type your message into the box labelled ‘Plaintext’, then click the button labelled ‘Encipher Plaintext’ to encrypt your message. You can produce new versions of the cipher by changing the size of the shift. Substitution Ciphers Caesar Cipher”The Caesar cipher is another example of Roman ingenuity. First described by the Roman historian Suetonius, it was used by Julius Caesar to communicate secretly with his army: If he had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word could be made out. Caesar decided on a simple algorithm whereby each letter of the message would be shifted forward 3 places in the alphabet.


Whenever he wrote in cipher, he wrote B for A, C for B, and the rest of the letters on the same principle, using AA for X. The battle of wits between codemakers and codebreakers has been the driving force for innovation in cipher technology for centuries. Every time the codemakers invented the next advance in cipher technology, the codebreakers would find an ingenious way to break that cipher. This website explores the technology of these crypto devices and the dramatic consequences of codebreaking to history.

The science and history of cryptology is shrouded in secrecy and confusion. As the veil is lifted on these secrets, often many decades or centuries after the fact, we gain a greater understanding of how codebreaking changed the traditional view of history. As a result, we are forced to re-examine and rewrite that history. Also, the invention and inventors of many cipher technologies are kept secret for many years. Sometimes, a new technology will be the catalyst for a new cipher machine and sometimes it will be the catalyst for codebreaking. The invention of the vacuum tube played both roles. Because of the widespread use of the new invention of radio in WW1, for example, every country was surprised to find that their ciphers were broken.

As an example of history being rewritten, the knowledge of the Allies breaking the Nazi Enigma code in WW2 was kept secret for 29 years, despite over 15,000 people working to break that code. Now the impact of the Allies breaking the Enigma code is better understood. By some estimates, it shortened the war by two years, saving millions of lives. An example of delayed revelation in WW2 was the Nazi General Rommel’s codebreaking of Allied messages during the Africa campaign.

Rommel’s tactics and the Nazi invasion of Africa ultimately failed, however, after the Allies gained the upper hand in the escalating crypto wars. Another important historical impact of breaking the German codes was the invention of electronic computing. The British bombe was a special purpose computing machine used to break the Enigma code and the US version added the innovation of digital memory, using electron tubes. The British Colossus used 2400 electron tubes and was designed to break the German teletype cipher, not the Enigma machine as is sometimes erroneously reported.

Caesar Cipher

In the Pacific theater in WW2, the turning point in the war was the Battle of Midway, where the Japanese plan for a surprise attack was deciphered and thwarted by the US decryption of their Purple and naval codes. Also, Admiral Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was assassinated based on decrypted Japanese messages. Bazeries, a French army officer, invented an innovative and user friendly cipher in the form of multiple alphabet wheels along one axle in 1891. This cipher wheel was independently invented in 1922 by Joseph O.

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Coincidentally, it was also discovered in 1922 the original inventor was Thomas Jefferson, our third president! He called this device his “wheel cypher” and an example has been found near Monticello, his home in Virginia. It was originally thought the electric rotor ciphers were invented independently by 4 inventors in 4 countries at the end of WW1. It wasn’t until 2003 that it was discovered this pivotal innovation was actually invented several years earlier, in 1915, by two Dutch naval officers. In addition, 2 of the 4 inventors were not independent at all, but collaborated after stealing the information from the two Dutch inventors. The only cipher that is mathematically proven to be completely unbreakable is the one-time pad.

Even this perfect cipher has been broken, however, when not used correctly. This misuse caused historic consequences during WW2 for Germany and the cold war for the Soviet Union. The Germans used an algorithm to generate random numbers, meaning the numbers were not truly random, so these one-time pad messages were decoded by the Allies for decades. When cryptanalysis fails, espionage is the favored and logical next step in the battle of wits. It was espionage that gave the Polish the first crack in successfully breaking the German Enigma machine. Hagelin cipher gave the US an open book into the military, diplomatic and government secrets of over 100 countries for four decades. This represents one of the greatest stings in history!

1970s resulted in a curious and unnecessary reduction of the key size from 64 to 56 bits. DES continued to use 64 bits in its algorithm, but 8 of those bits were simply unused. It was speculated the key size reduction allowed the NSA to break DES by brute force in the 1970s. 1993 to give the US government a publicized back door into all communications. It was only because of a design flaw in the Clipper chip that this backdoor was not required to be installed in all US communication products.

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Recent news of wholesale gathering of phone metadata by the NSA on hundreds of millions of people captivated and appalled people worldwide, but even more consequential is the fact they broke into public key encryption. Some of the backdoors and secret agreements have now been disclosed and some companies have been paid millions of dollars to help the NSA engineer these backdoors into their products. The battle of wits between codemakers and codebreakers continues to escalate and is guaranteed to produce more ingenious technologies and interesting revisions of history for years to come. The game in this chapter is the first to make use of Cartesian coordinates that you learned about in Chapter 12. As the games you program become more complicated, you’ll need to organize your data in data structures.


In this chapter’s game, the player places sonar devices at various places in the ocean to locate sunken treasure chests. Sonar is a technology that ships use to locate objects under the sea. But by placing multiple sonar devices down, the player can figure out where the treasure chest is. There are three chests to collect, but the player has only sixteen sonar devices to use to find them.

Caesar Cipher

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Imagine that you could not see the treasure chest in the following picture. Figure 13-2: Combining multiple square rings of shows where treasure chests could be. But multiple sonar devices working together can narrow it to an exact place where the rings intersect each other. Normally these rings would be circles, but this game will use squares to make programming it easier.

Would you like to view the instructions? You have 16 sonar devices left. Where do you want to drop the next sonar device? Treasure detected at a distance of 5 from the sonar device. You have 15 sonar devices left.

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Treasure detected at a distance of 4 from the sonar device. You have 14 sonar devices left. You have found a sunken treasure chest! You have 13 sonar devices left. We’ve run out of sonar devices!

Caesar Cipher

Do you want to play again? Source Code of Sonar Treasure Hunt Below is the source code for the game. Type it into a new file, then save the file as sonar. Return a string from the board data structure at a certain row.

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Create a new 60×15 board data structure. Return True if the coordinates are on the board, otherwise False. Change the board data structure with a sonar device character. Return False if this is an invalid move. Otherwise, return the string of the result of this move. All treasure chests out of range.

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Let the player type in their move. Return a two-item list of int xy coordinates. Enter a number from 0 to 59, a space, then a number from 0 to 14. This function returns True if the player wants to play again, otherwise it returns False. You are the captain of the Simon, a treasure-hunting ship.

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The sonar can find out how far away the closest chest is to it. The point where the device was dropped will be marked with a 2. The treasure chests don’t move around. S O N A R ! You have found all the sunken treasure chests! Designing the Program Before trying to understand the source code, play the game a few times first to understand what is going on.

Data structures are variables that store arrangements of values to represent something. For example, in the Tic Tac Toe chapter, a Tic Tac Toe board data structure was a list of strings. The string represented an X, O, or empty space and the index of the string in the list represented the space on the board. The Sonar game will have similar data structures for the locations of treasure chests and sonar devices.

This function is used later in the program. The Sonar game’s board is an ASCII art ocean with X- and Y-axis coordinates around it. 1 key on your keyboard will be used for the ocean waves. Second, use that string to display the X-axis coordinates along the top of the screen.